Saturday, October 19, 2013

Thursdays are for Uptown

Swept Away in a Spiritual Spaceship
at the Jewish Museum
Thursdays are my day for French lessons at the French Institute/Alliance Française on 60th Street. On this particular Thursday, I had multiple events planned. French, then lunch with Richard and a friend, followed by a trip to The Jewish Museum to see a special fashion show with friends Maryann and Ari Seth Cohen. A whole day away from the Lower East Side. Ahh ... I am Uptown.
 I have a French lesson with Professeure Samira Ait-Jafour
 from 10 to 11:30.
After my lesson, I walk along 64th Street on my way to meet Richard and our friend, Liz, for lunch at JoJo -- a chic little restaurant in a charming townhouse. On the way I pass this eye-catching house designed and lived in by Edward Durell Stone, architect of the Museum of Modern Art.

 Lovely plantings are a signature of the Upper East Side.
These reflect the circles in the Durell Stone house.
Arriving at JoJo, who should I encounter
but un homme qui porte une veste rose. 
JoJo is so pretty with it's deep purple banquettes and toile curtains. 
This Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant was his first in New York
and has been open for 22 years.
Liz works nearby at the Memorial 
Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Lunch was delicious, if a bit rushed for Liz, whose
high-powered job does not leave her much time to be
a lady who lunches.
Our next stop was The Jewish Museum on 92nd Street where there is an exhibit of the clothes of threeASFOUR, an avant-garde fashion team. The gallery space has been transformed into an inky black room with animations of the team's intricate designs projected on walls. They also created a Temple of Mirrors in a flower-of-life pattern in which I posed with Maryann.
 My Lola fedora does double duty reflected on the mirrored wall.
threeASFOUR used the concept of MER KA BA as the theme for their collection and the exhibition design. The clothing line is inspired by sacred geometry and tile patterns found in churches, synagogues and mosques throughout the world. Hence, their presence at The Jewish Museum.
Ari Seth Cohen, author, photographer and creator 
of the Advanced Style book and blog, joined us for the exhibit.
He was inspired to ascend in the Temple of Mirrors.
The design team of threeASFOUR is composed of three people. 
Gabriel Asfour is from Lebanon, Adi Gil is from Israel and
Angela Donhauser is from Tajikistan.
Maryann designed her headband and jewelry. She looks
fantastic reflected in the Temple's mirrors.
Ari in the Temple.
Merkaba is a mystical form of Judaism,
and alludes to ka ba, a holy site in Islam. 
Taking a selfie in the Temple.
threeASFOUR's clothes are
wearable art.
They favor unusual materials.
Dresses as Lost Souls in the Solar System.
Many of the dresses use lace made of laser-cut leather.
A planetarium with dresses as the stars.
This would make an interesting
dress for a Sci-Fi Bride.
 Outside the museum, Ari took our picture.

Getting a cab on Fifth Avenue.
Wonderful day!

Photo by Ari Seth Cohen.

À Bientôt

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Peek in the Studio

Hats Are Heating Up
I have been working in the studio making hats in preparation for an open studio this autumn, date to be announced. I will be revealing a project that has been in the works for months. I call it
Hat Shop in a Box
I worked with a young architect to create the Hat Shop, and it turned out great. It will be the centerpiece of my open studio. In the coming weeks I will show you pictures of the Hat Shop.

Meanwhile, the hats are coming along apace.

I am using buttons on the hats.
I inherited a button collection from my mother-in law.
Here are the reds.

 Felt scraps.
Some greens and yellows.
 Felt samples. The best wool felt is made in Holland.
Work table supplies. I am using autumn leaves on a hat.
Hence the pattern.
The Fauchon box holds little jewels.
The operating table. 
The hat on the wood block is based on
one worn by Erye de Lanux in the picture below.
Erye de Lanux was an American woman who lived in Paris in the 20s and 30s. She was an artist, writer and designer of lacquered furniture. She died at age 102 in New York City. Sometime in the 90s I found her number in the phone book and called her up. I said that I would like to write about her. She said, "you will steal my stories." We made an appointment to meet but when I called to confirm, there was no answer on the line. This picture was in the New York Times recently in a ad for a show of her
work in Paris.
 Tea as a perk-me-up.

I buy the felt squares at Purl in Soho. 
It's a lovely store that has knitting supplies and fabrics.
Vintage metallic threads, a Christmas gift
from my niece, Sarah.
Came in handy to sew a silver button on.
While I work I watch videos on Netflix.
This is a BBC production of Bleak House by Charles Dickens.
Left to right: Ada Clare, played by Carey Mulligan, 
Charlie and Esther Summerson, the heroine of the novel.
 Lady Dedlock has a secret. Esther is her daughter.
Poor Esther contracted Smallpox. But everyone keeps says, the marks will fade.
And indeed they do by the last episode.
 Lady Dedlock reveals the fact that Esther is her daughter.
 A felt doodle on my inspiration board.
 A drawing for a necklace design.
A painting and felt construction
based on a 1930s French magazine cover.

If you wish to read about Erye
you may do so here.

Stay tuned for more on my
Hat Shop in a Box
and Open Studio.

À Bientôt!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

MAD About Jewelry

Loot and Lunch
Yesterday, for the first time ever, (where have I been for the past 13 years?) I attended the annual LOOT exhibition and sale at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City. I didn't know what to expect when my friend Maryann invited me to LOOT. Perhaps it was a jumble sale of beads piled high like Filene's Basement? Would there be women tearing each other's hair out over bargain baubles? But when we stepped off the elevators on the second floor, we were greeted by rows of gleaming glass cases, behind which stood the actual creators of the wondrous pieces.
Dressed for LOOT and ready to hop the F train
in my Boden Bistro Crop pant
and necklace of my own design.
MAD spent a year searching for designers around the world.
50 artists from 20 countries are represented at the sale.
Christine J. Brandt, above left, was
born in Japan and raised in Europe and the U.S.
 Christine hand-carves her rings from exotic woods
and pairs them with semi-precious stones and
minerals used uncut, and as they are found in nature.
LOOT can wait...
first we lunched at Robert 
on the 9th floor of the Museum.
Maryann is a jewelry designer and
made the necklace and headpiece
that she is wearing.
 We admired these exotic leather cuffs by Fabien Ifirès
of France. He apprenticed in luxury saddlery and
handmade shoe-workshops, before creating
his own label.
I was attracted to the brilliant blue of these pieces 
by Yoko Shimizu, who lives in Italy.
 A little creepy, a little beautiful.
The work of Tzuri Gueta of France.
He invented  a technique called 
"lace filled with silicone."
 Marina Massone of Argentina.
The best part of LOOT was meeting the designers.
This charming lady is Begona Rentero from Spain. She makes necklaces from all kinds of fabrics and special paper, and I loved these paper flowers instantly. I purchased the red necklace directly in front of Begona. Sounds like a flower name -- Begonia!
Begona's work is full of fantasy and glamour. She believes that life is better with a "spoonful of sugar," a philosophy that I fully subscribe to. She uses natural dyes and creates her own palette of colors for her work.
 Begona's work incorporates my favorite elements:
 flowers, color, fantasy and fun.
A garden round my neck,
no weeding required.

You may learn more about her work here.

À Bientôt!